Nigerian Navy and Chinese PLA Navy officers on the foredeck of the Type 054 frigate

Chinese PLA Navy personnel and a Harbin Z-9 helicopter in the background


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. johnbest1 says:

    I always imagined Nigerian naval sailors being the 1CE conducting exercises aboard Nigerian frigates with other less endowed navies,but alas this is not the case,(nigerian military dey fall their hand)

  2. beegeagle says:

    Mark my the not-too-distant future, the stealth Type 054 frigate shall be inducted into NN service as long-term replacement for the NNS Aradu.

    We shall also see a navy with Chinese-built Type 056 stealth corvettes, a LPD and submarines. All of the foregoing shall come to pass by or before 2019.

  3. jimmy says:

    You can sense a mindset .Let me add something that has not been said, the Chinese will back.They will come back next year to do naval maneuvers with NN Centena

  4. drag_on says:

    Hey, I wont mind if in the short term our navy consists of used frigates and locally produced corvettes,until as such a time we have mastered the production of the aforesaid corvettes and are ready to upgrade to building frigates with the help of the Chinese. Its a natural progression step.The F.G should continue the funding of corvettes as long as it is being produced largely in Nigeria.I will support that.

  5. Henry says:

    According to Defence IQ, we would be getting additional 10 OPV’s from now – 2020.

  6. beegeagle says:

    Yes I know that the Aradu has not been refitted, Oga Buchi. But for a ship which was commissioned in 1982, there have to be plans underway for her replacement.

    The unbeatable price tag on the Type 054, her size and power, the budding in-country shipbuilding and maintenance synergies with China and the possibility of getting the full panoply of armaments on her as we are willing to pay for, suggests that the Type 054 is a very strong candidate for that replacement ship whose acquisition is inevitable.

  7. Tope says:

    Defence IQ forgot to add NNS Thunder, NNS Okpabana transferred to us from USA, and the gifted chinese Warship from China too. NN plan says 49 ships and 42 helicopters by 2020 so have they revisited their numbers or what?

  8. Deewon says:

    Good day Gentlemen of this blog. I would like to inform you all that nns aradu has been moved from her home port at naval dockyard to an undisclosed location. Also couple of days back I was reading a naval report where it was reported that it was much more cost effective to replace her than rather than carrying out a complete refurbishment on her. Gentlemen what’s your take on this?

    • asorockweb says:

      Oga Deewon,

      Thanks for the info.

      The naval report in question, was it produced by the Nigerian Navy?

      Nigerians love the Aradu, any attempt to dump it and not replace it with something of equal or greater status, will reflect very badly on the navy.

      Second hand ships, no matter how large, will not create the same emotional bond with the average Nigerian.

  9. cryptologist says:

    Egypt acquiring four Gowind corvettes at full swap is interesting. Though the OPVs are coming in just as we want it, its about time we get ourselve a Frigate for God-sake! The type 054 will be a good buy i guess. Without a brand new frigate in our waters, the Aradu might just be in the process of been refitted. We should explore the new oppurtunities with the Chinese who have the doors opened for us.

  10. ifiok umoeka says:

    Oga Beegz, AMEEEENNN! Oga Deewan thanks for that news! I’ve been saying that for a while, the Aradu needs a replacement not replenishment! She’s an old lady (even though she wasn’t used to the fullest)! Give her a befitting retirement. War is for the young! Also, I hope we do away with this one capital ship mentality! Argentina got 4 of those meko 360s after we got one and we didn’t think it wise to have @ least 2 or 3! I hope we get 3 054s (if that is what we want to go for) and @ that price, it offers the best value for money! We should also start asking about integrating Israeli EL/
    M-2248 MF-STAR “Adir” S-
    band active array radar, radar and Barak 1/2 on them! The Z9 will suffice

  11. ifiok umoeka says:

    This may push the price a little higher but will still be gr8t deal! However, we must buy something significant in quantity and quality! We must cover replenishment and refit! This mustn’t erase our presence in the sea! We must have say 2 guarding our shores while one checks out for a little diplomacy …gunboat style

  12. drag_on says:

    let us remember SG-02 was released by ex-CNS, Vice-Admiral Dele Ezeoba on Nov 21 2013 at which point 90% of SG-01’s objectives had been completed.
    This plan calls for the refit of Aradu in 2014.
    Oga obix on this very blog gave a link to this fact.
    We are about 6-7mnths into SG-02.
    The medium term goals of SG-02 (over 12 months) include

    *Acquisition of the ex-US Coast Guard cutter USCGC Gallatin,
    *The completion and commissioning of the first Chinese-built OPV and domestic assembly of the
    second Chinese OPV,
    * Commissioning of the second domestic Seaward Defence Boat,
    * Completion of the refit of NNS Brass and NNS Yola
    * The refit of the frigate NNS Aradu,<—————–
    * The fast attack craft NNS Siri, Ayam and Damisa. The refit of the fast patrol boat NNS Ekpe,
    Ekun and minesweepers NNS Ohue and NNS Barama.
    If Aradu is no longer at home port as oga Deewon suggest,it fits well with SG-02 that she is about to undergo refitting.

  13. Deewon says:

    Yes the report was produced by the Nigerian navy but that was back in 2009 and I guess the navy had not began to act on it strategic guidance as of then. As of when I saw her been moved she was in the company of two npa tugboats. So she might be undergoing refit at niger docks or at continental shipyard

  14. ifiok umoeka says:

    The $100mn questn is, how deep will the refit go? Will it be to just restore her for minimal (OPV) level ops or will it entail a deep overhaul and UPGRADE OF SYSTEM? What will her duties entail? How long will she be in commission? If its deep overhaul/upgrade, it will be more sensible to buy a new ship as the difference will not be much. If the just revamp, then it will be cheaper but we will not have a fighting ship, rather we’ll have a coast guard cutter better suited for OP duties or perhaps training! Then we’ll still need capital ships

  15. Tope says:

    Aradu is being refitted it means SG-02 is being followed to the latter, Good news we need it to sail so we can have FIVE frigate level vessels sailing our EEZ which is a good news, more refitting will mean over 10 corvette level crafts from the NNS SIRI,AYAM,DAMISA,EKUN,EKPE will see new missions… way to go a mix of refurbished, newly built both incountry and outside, hand me downs, excess defence articles, transfers n gift are the sure way to go. THE Message is FLEET REPLENISHMENT

  16. Are James says:

    This topic has been discussed many times and I want a clear explanation this time ….please.
    Is Aradu a Frigate or a Destroyer?.

    • drag_on says:

      By standards used in the 70’s and 80’s,yes Aradu can be classifies as such.But, by today’s definitions destroyers are no longer considered as torpedo boat destroyers but rather guided missile destroyers.
      Hence, if your ship is not above an approximate minimum of 7000 tonnes and carrying a minimum of 16 VLS surface to air or surface to surface missiles it cant be called a guided missile Destroyer.
      As an example the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer weighs in at 9-10 thousand tonnes and 90 VLS missiles.
      The Indian Delhi class destroyer weighs in at 6200 tonnes and 32 Barak VLS
      The British type45 Daring class destroyer weighs in at 8000 tonnes and 48VLS
      The Chinese type 051c weighs in at 7100 tonnes 48VLS and the type 52c is 7000tonnes and 48 VLS.
      Aradu comes in at 3360 tonnes and 0VLS
      By the standards of years gone by Aradu can be classified as a Torpedo boat (submarine) destroyer due to her sonar,depth charge and torpedoes and her ability to defend herself against surface and air attack.
      This role however, has been taken over by frigates hence the “F” on Aradu.

      • asorockweb says:

        The term “guided missile destroyer” is also getting old.

        Western naval warfare planners are beginning to unbundled the traditional tasks of the cold war era “Guided Missile Destroyer”.

        For example, the British type 45 is primarily an anti-aircraft and anti-missile destroyer. And the US is have trouble implementing it’s littoral combat ships.

        Just to add to the conversation.

      • Are James says:


  17. buchi says:

    pls i need your help here oga beegz and all bloggers.i would like to know the state of our air detection capabilities(radar).(if there is any installed).apart from the roland air defense system do we have another active system.what is the scramble time of our air guard jets(f-7).do we have C and C structures.extent of military radar coverage in nigeria

    • Are James says:

      @Buchi; You are asking for strategic national defence information without any security clearance. We are going to require your passport, residential address, phone number, account no and blood sample,

  18. drag_on says:

    Military surveillance radar positions nobody will tell you.
    If we have? Yes, for example our Navy have a coastal radar battery.
    What we do know we have is TRACON, Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria.This is primarily for Civilian use,but will have military appendages because it is networked to a CnC.
    Our Roland mobile radar/SAM systems are obsolete considering that it has a missile speed of Mach 1.6 and is short ranged.
    Most fighter jets after-burn at higher Machs so can outrun it.
    Compare this with the different versions of the S300 that have speeds ranging from Mach 4 and Mach 6 and a maximum target engagement speed of up to Mach 8.5,
    The Akash missile system has an approximate speed of Mach 2.5
    Most fighter after-burn at Mach 2 to Mach 2.2 at altitude, for a Roland to hit a jet it will have to be at low altitude where the Mach drop due to high air density.

  19. beegeagle says:

    My Oga Deewon of the Admiralty! I salute you bountifully. Thanks for the update. Here is my take.


    If the projected cost of the upgradation and refurbishment of the NNS Aradu indeed exceeds US$100m, we might as well convert her to an OPV in-country, just as the Chinese have converted some of the earlier Type 53H1 frigates into OPVs and transferred them from the PLAN to the CCG. We can actually convert the Aradu to an OPV in-country at the NN Shipyard. The said US$100+m can be used to build an enlarged Type 056 corvette and while that is going on, we can get Nigerdock+West Atlantic Shipyard to build us six completed 32 metre hulls for a total of US$30 million.

    These six 32 metre hulls will then be armed as follows to serve as multirole escort, patrol and strike assets.

    – two units could be armed with 20mm cannons and 12.7mm HMGs

    – two units to be armed with C704 AShM quad launchers

    – two units to be armed with Israeli-made quad-cell 533 mm torpedo launchers

    Each of the three fleet commands would get two ships…the torp and missile armed ones go to ENC and WNC while CNC get the gun-armed craft.


    b. Use the money intended for the upgrade of the NNS Aradu to acquire an enlarged Type 056 corvette and a decommissioned F122 frigate from Germany. One of these was decommissioned only last year and if we need her services, she should be snapped up now while her offensive systems are functional.


    c. Acquire an enlarged Type 056 corvette (modified to incorporate a hangar like our P18N stealth OPVs) and build two Damen 8313 OPVs armed with a 57mm gun and 20mm cannons for the US$100+million which could have been spent on upgrading the NNS Aradu


    The baggage-free fighting ship which is more modern and a natural progression from the Aradu, not to forget the fact of being priced well within our known spending proclivities, is the Type 054 frigate. That is a menacingly armed 4,000 ton FIGHTING ship.

    Let the FG negotiate a US$450m counterpart funding facility from China EXIM Bank with which to acquire fighting ships which make a dent anywhere, anyday. The FG can actually make a down payment of US$150m and get China EXIM Bank to extend preferential buyers’ credit to the tune of US$300m. With these funds, we should reach for the following

    – a Type 054 frigate
    – two enlarged Type 056 corvettes
    – three Harbin Z-9EC ASW helicopters

    b. the FG should also negotiate the sale of the following ex-PLAN/CCG assets as follows, including refurbishment and upgradation costs, for a total of US$45m

    – three ex-CCG 41 metre Type 218 Midshore Patrol Vessels armed with 25mm cannons and 14.5mm HMGs for midrange EEZ patrols at a cost of US$20 million.

    – three 39 metre ex-PLAN Type 062 Shanghai II patrol craft armed with C704 AShMs at a cost of US$25 million.

    These mid-sized assets shall give a great boost to our multi-pronged anti-piracy patrol efforts and provide us with ancillary missile defence capability at sea.

    Each fleet command shall be availed with the service of a midshore patrol vessel and a missile craft acquired in this way.

    Emphasis on the procurement of these used assets should be the ability to sustain continuing service at sea for 12 years, by which time the puny outlay expended on their acquisition and the multi-tasking leverage availed the NN over the corresponding period, would have more than justified itself. It translates to less than US$4 million annually for the service of six 39-41m patrol and fighting platforms…money VERY WELL SPENT

    Negotiated into these two sets of deals for new and used ships in lieu of sweetener would be a brand-new 45 metre midshore patrol vessel..a FREE ship given by the Chinese to ‘smoothen’ the deal, that is.

  20. Yagazie says:

    South Africa in one fell swoop purchased FOUR units of Meko 200 ‘valour class’ friages and THREE units of Type 219 Submarines. Why should we be looking at getting just one frigate to possibly replace NNS Aradu? We have 3 operational naval fleet commands (Western, Central and Eastern) and so we should look at getting THREE Chinese Type 054 Frigates with embarked Harbin Z-9 EC ASW helos (one of each fleet command) and then the ABSALOM class amphibious ship from Denmark or a chinese equivalent (if available) – which can then become our new naval flagship – and could also be used for humanitarian missions. Then of course the Type 071 LPD from China to enable us maintain a continuos SBS, special forces, attack helo presence at sea. NNS Aradu can then be converted to an OPV to join NNS Thunder and NNS OKpabana with one ship each being distributed to the three fleet commands. Last but not least – a fleet replenishment vessel similar to the south african SAS Drakensberg.

  21. asorockweb says:

    Regarding the question if the NNS Aradu should be replaced or refitted, my answer is refitted and/or upgraded.

    There should be no reason why it can’t be refitted.

    The NNS thunder was first commissioned in 1968, I believe the NNS Aradu was commissioned in 1982.

    Going through the refitting process will help the navy gain experience on how to refit their larger ships; something that will come in handy in the not too distance future if the Navy’s strategic plans are fully implemented.

  22. Augustine says:

    I am wondering, our P18N stealth OPVs have oil spill control equipment located at the normal position for anti-ship missiles, could it mean it is now impossible to arm them with such? Could it be the reason why a Chinese Admiral spoke publicly and said the Nigerian F91 will not carry an anti-ship missile?

    I spent many hours soaking up information on NNS Aradu, and found these :

    When Aradu entered service in 1982, she was by far and away the most powerful warship in Africa and two decades later is still a formidable vessel.

    Aradu fell into disrepair by the late 1980s. In 1987 she suffered two groundings and a collision and remained peirside afterwards.

    A refit by Blohm&Voss was performed in Lagos from 1991 to 1994. The refit was expensive and in the end pointless.

    By 1997 Aradu was again non-operational. In 2001, another refit (with American assistance) was undertaken, and the ship returned to operation. The obsolete AWS 5 radar and PHS sonar were replaced and all systems cleaned and overhauled. The non-operational Lynx helicopter was replaced by a Augusta 109E.

    The current availability of all weapons is unknown. Aradu has not test-fired a missile or torpedo since the late 1980s. However the launchers appear to be in good working order. The guns have been observed firing in 2004 and again in 2005, and the new helo is fully operational.


    x8 Otomat Mk1 SSM 80km surface

    x1 Albatros launcher for Apside 13km AA (24 missiles total carried)


    x1 OTO-Melara 5” 16km Anti-surface/ 7km Anti-Air (460 rds total)

    x8 (4 twin) Breda 40mm 10km AA/surface (2688 rds per mount)


    x6 (2 triple) STWS 1B 21” tubes 7km sub

    for 18 Whitehead A244S torpedoes

    x1 DC rack, 12 depth charges 2km sub


    DA-08 180km air (search, track)

    Decca 1226SS (I) 50km surface (range, bearing)

    Signaal STIR (I/J/K) 120km fire control (range, bearing, altitude)

    Signaal WM25(I) 45km fire control (range, bearing)


    Decca RDL-2AC ESM (bearing, class)

    RCM-2 jammer

    x2 Decca IFF IFF

    x2 Breda SCLAR 20 flare/chaff (40 rds ready + 80 rds reload)


    Atlas EA80 20NM passive (bearing, class)

    17NM active (range, depth, bearing)

    SOURCE :

    I got another source that says Aradu has Otomat Mk2 while SIPRI says Mk1. Range for Mk2 is double that of Mk1 Otomat.

    Also, range of the Aspide SAM is WVR on this site, but SIPRI says its BVR Aspide SAMs believed by some to have a 45km range.

    Then the main gun 127mm is said by other sources to have a range of 30km with standard shells or 100km with modern Vulcano guided shells.

    Nigerian weapons arsenal, the more you look, the less you see, confusion galore.

    My personal estimates says Aradu needs $100 million to be fully formidable. Is it worth it? The old lady is not even a stealth ship.

    I would rather strip Aradu down to OPV level with Chinese help, and get a Type 054 Frigate with down payment of $120m as 50% of total cost, then I have a warship that can challenge any other warship in this world even if she cannot win against the best of the best, Type 054 remains a threat to be afraid of.

    However, it would take say 2 years from now for a new ship of that size to be delivered.

    Meanwhile, help us beg our great thinking Navy to get stop-gap measure Type 053H3 Guided Missile Frigate with full options of all surface warfare, anti-air warfare, and anti-submarine warfare weapons plus ASW Z-9 helicopter, and equipment with up to date ECM and self defence CIWS, either this ship is donated free from China to Nigeria, or we pay some $50 million for it.

  23. Tope says:

    The Chinese gifted ship might be a taste for better things to come, if its a type 054,053,056 warship it will help streamline our acquisitions but I daresay we should look towards Australia and Germany too.

  24. ifiok umoeka says:

    Oga Augustine, ame tooyo (do u remember in my mother tongue)? Hmm! Go to see that most of us see with me on the Aradu, however, Oga Augustine, which one would u prefer (based on capability) between the F122 and the 053H3 and why? Oga Beegz, could u give us the price for each as tokumbo?

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